purpose – like real purpose

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this weekend at church the message is about “the single family.” i’ve been married to grant for 5 short months, so honestly my life has been spent more single than not. y’all know i’m passionate about what a single person is capable of – what a single person can experience during this season, bc that was me. it was my story. i’ve never been shy about how i feel on the topic of being single (just search “single” on this blog & you will see!) there tends to be this invisible timer attached to a single person – as if your time just hasn’t come yet, as if he or she isn’t here yet. now, i’m a newlywed who knows literally nothing on the topic of marriage, but i must say (shout!), marriage won’t complete you. it’s a blessing, absolutely, but it’s no lifesaver. you have purpose no matter what. bottom line. i hope you do feel encouraged that you do matter in the kingdom and god will use you, no matter what your relationship status. remember, he’s bigger than any situation.

why i get anxiety twice a year.

the dentist.

i only go twice a year, but it seems the older i get, the more i dread it.

i walk into the office & before i even sit down, i silence my cell phone & don’t dare take it out of my purse as to follow the directions on the laminated sign. i see you, sign. i’m not ignoring you. while i’m sitting in the waiting room, i read gossip magazines like it’s something i do daily. i smile at the kids playing in the corner. i act like a very mature adult. but in reality, reality is i’m hating life.

then they call my name. i smile, acting like this is normal & i’m looking forward to the next 30 minutes.

i’m polite, i answer medical history questions with ease, i try to cause absolutely no ruckus as to not bring attention to myself.

then they start “tool time” as i like to call it. brand-new metal tools fresh outta the plastic bag – which i notice, of course. i notice everything. mainly because I’M FREAKING OUT.

then it begins: the precious time where i’m not able to talk or defend my teeth, while people poke & scrap & JUDGE.

they can’t help themselves. and i can’t help but wait for their judgement.

i turn into a very codependent person at the dentist. more than i already am [let’s be real]. i crave approval about my teeth. it’s like the adult-version of getting my report card.

i don’t like the person i become in that dentist office. i stare at the light above my head & start thinking about all my cavity-free years & i envy those days.

i literally sat there today & started panicking about the next twenty years. it was so overwhelming. i started making new year’s resolutions right there in that chair. i vowed to myself to brush my teeth four times a day & floss after every meal & even BEFORE every meal. i vowed to use mouth wash for five minutes straight, even if it starts to burn & i start to choke. my teeth are at the top of my priority list . . . at least for those daunting 30 minutes.

am i the only one? all i want is a good dentist report card. i want these strangers to approve of my pearly whites.

today’s report card : A+

photo(17)no cavities, just some plaque.

luckily, i won’t have to endure this dentist-induced anxiety for another six months.

until then, i shall now google what the heck plaque is & how i can avoid it . . .

photo(16)tonight’s pretty sunset.

i don’t hate life anymore, ps btw.

tearing down walls.

one week into home-owning & i’ve got sore arms & a cough from inhaling drywall dust.

but, i also have three walls down!

if i’m going to hammer a wall for hours on end – i’m going to put some purpose behind the destruction.

admittedly, i have lots of junk in my heart that i don’t necessarily struggle with daily – but it does take up space in my heart & my mind.

recently, my girlfriends & i have thrown around ideas to release some of our stress/anger/sadness. holly came up with the idea of throwing eggs at trees in the woods, which i immediately pictured skunks & racoons attacking us. that idea was shot down quickly.

i knew my living room wall had to go – annddd i had already written on it (whoops)


so, why not write down all the things we want to give up to God; all the things we are tired of dealing with; all the things that are holding us back from living a full life . . . & then smash the crap out of it!

i called in the experts. also known as my frans.

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at first, it was hard to think of things to write. you start debating if you really want to give that up, or questioning – “is that really even that bad?”


but soon, we were on a roll. a sharpie-writing-on-the-wall roll!




those are some STRONG women. i tell you what. twenty-something years of life brings a bunch of pain/heartache/happiness/joy. it’s a roller coaster.

when we had finally marked all the white space with black words, we sat down & each read a section of the wall out loud. whoa.

that was hard. we’ve each known each for different amounts of time & we would claim to be really good friends.

what i learned from this night was that your past doesn’t define you. you don’t need to know all the details of someone’s life to love them & be a good friend to them. at the same time, it was eye-opening to see how powerful Christ is. He’s brought all of us out so much junk & into His beautiful grace; His free grace.

then came the fun part. it was loud. it was exciting. it was hard. but the end result was beautiful.


i encourage free therapy, like bashing walls, to everyone i know – to everyone reading this.

problems didn’t magically fade away that night. that wasn’t the point. it was to show the power of Christ – His beautiful design of relationship & friendship & freedom & new beginnings.

we are in this together.

“greater love has no one than this, that He lay down His life for His friends.” John 15:13

get to know etley.

i miss myspace. but wait, before you judge me, you have be honest with me & yourself.

i get home from school. log into AIM. log into myspace. turn on some napster tunes. open microsoft word. open up my english binder & book.

start up chats with all available friends on AIM. scroll through the bulletin board on myspace. find a survey. copy. paste. start filling out that bad boy.

mom walks up behind me. rapidly click on the microsoft word tab, type away, as if writing my english paper. she’s satisfied. she walks away.

minimize microsoft word. continue chatting & filling out myspace survey. the world is right again.

so, here i am. an adult. i think i still have a myspace account, although i haven’t signed on in years. & right now, in this moment, i want to fill out a survey. a “get-to-know-me” survey.

but first, a few life updates, to set the mood:

a. i currently have a cold. the kind with the relentless deep echo-ey kinda cough. my brain is competing with the ever-so-popular sinus pressure & i just want to nap my life away.

b. i’m going to cali in five days. running a half marathon with half my family. it’s gonna be sweet. & flat.

c. i have barely trained for this half marathon.

sweet, here we go:

a] age: twentyfive.
b] bed size: twin. yes, you read that correctly. never, ever owned a bigger bed.

c] chore that you hate: laundry. i don’t like dirty clothes & i don’t like clean clothes. i just have too many clothes & i can’t keep up. i need to give away my clothes.
d] dogs: noodles. commonly called noodlepie. german shepherd labrador mix. him’s black & beautiful & kid-like. he’s going on thirteen years old. i love him.
e] essential start to your day: some sort of outdoor excursion. whether it’s a quick run out, run in to check the temp, going for a run, playing with pup, taking a few pics or simply drinking tea & reading – i always go outside first thing in the morn.
f] favorite color: blue.
g] gold or silver: silver.
h] height: 5’9″
i] instruments you play: does 4th-6th grade violin count? bc i rocked out to the violin. i can also play a little piano, but my favorite “instrument” is my voice. i love to sing!
j] job title: executive assistant at chesapeake church.
k] kids: one day.
l] live: southern maryland.
m] mother’s name: jeannie
n] nicknames: girl, etley, leash, aleash, leashy, fra-leasha, bates, kalisha, cross

o] overnight hospital stays: nope!
p] pet peeve: using the shoulder of the road as your personal merge lane & expecting me to let you in, the sound of chewing, driving behind a smoker on a beautiful day when my windows are down.
q] quote from a movie: “yes, i’ve heard of shakespeare. he was a famous pirate.”
r] right or left handed: right.
s] siblings: an older brother & a younger step-sister.

t] time you wake up: a little before 7am.
u] unique:  i love editing print & written pieces.

v] vegetable you hate: are pickles a vegetable? hate em’! that & mushrooms, asparagus, olives, brussels sprouts & eggplant.

w] where will you be in five years: thirty – whoa – probs in maryland – probs working at the church – probs still running & soaking up the beach as much as possible.
x] x-plain your most favorite passion: my passion is to run towards the plan God has. however he fits me into his plan, i wanna be ok with it, i wanna promote it, i wanna live it. my passion is to be selfless in that way.
y] yummy food that you make: quinoa salad, regular salad, turkey sweet potato burgers, ohhhh & chicken & cheese biscuits.
z] zoo animal: MONKEYS.

the end. back to being an adult. thanks for reading. if you blog, do this!! & tell me so i can read it.